Kiss – ‘Kiss My Axe 1978’ (1981 Re-Issue) – Album Review (The Bootleg Series)

Happy Thanksgiving!! Here is what I am thankful for as far as music goes (of course tops is my family and friends).

I am always on the hunt for Kiss Bootlegs and I got another classic one a few weeks back. Noble Records was having their 3rd Anniversary Drop and Dylan always has some great stuff out that day. The store opened at 10 and the line had to be long as it always in as everyone wants the good stuff. I had been recovering from surgery and this was my first trip out so there was no way I was getting there early and standing in line. No, I wasn’t doing that. Instead I left the house at a little before 10 and got there around 10:20 am. I figured, if it was meant for me to have it, it would still be there. And guess what, it was still there and I grabbed it!!! Yes, I was excited. Bootleg #21 of Kiss was now in my collection.

This one was an old one. It was from 1981 and was actually a re-issue of the 1978 original release of the album. The people putting out this one spared no expense as the album sleeve is a plain white cardboard with nothing on it. Instead you get a piece of paper with a badly printed picture of the band and the details on the release. That is it. The inner sleeve is white and labels, well, as you see below, there was not much too them. But typical bootleg fashion, the band’s name is not on the label. I love these old style boots, you can’t beat them.

This was recorded live at Los Angeles Forum, California, On August 25, 1977 and this is fresh off the new album at the time, ‘Love Gun’. I’m really excited about this one because I didn’t have a bootleg from the Love Gun Tour…now I do. The band was hungry, young and insanely good at this time. The recording is an audience recording as you can hear a lot of the kids screaming around the person recording the show. But as far as audience recordings go, it isn’t bad. It isn’t the whole show as it is only 11 songs and most of them are from the ‘Love Gun’ album.

It opens with some explosions that sound like loud pops and they go in to “I Stole Your Love” the opening track to ‘Love Gun’. As a lot of their shows were back then, the tempo was sped up as their adrenaline got the best of them. They went straight in to “Take Me” and Ace lays down a quick, efficient, messy solo which is fantastic. Paul sounds great and is all Paul, no backing tracks in these days…because he didn’t need them. Gene gets a turn after a quick crowd banter for Paul. The song kicks in and we get a girls scream…or a guy whose voice was changing. Gene belts out “Ladies Room” and again, it is so fast. Gene sound like Gene and that is all I want to hear so I am thrilled with this one. Peter goes to town on that cowbell on this one as well.

Then things really heat up with “Firehouse” but not before some more of Paul’s awkward crowd banter. He hadn’t perfected it yet for this song I guess because it was weird. The song sounds amazing and Ace’s licks are spot on. You do get the siren as it would be weird without it. Then the title track to the new album. “Love Gun” comes roaring in with Peter’s drum barrage after more Paul crowd interaction. This one seems to be on warp speed. Gene’s bass is prominent on this one as well as he is laying down a wicked groove. A little rough around the edges, but still solid performance. It is live, you don’t expect it to be perfect. “Hooligan” is up next and Peter gets his turn on vocals. I’m excited about this one for two reasons…1) It’s not “Beth” and 2) I don’t think I have this one live…I’ll have to check on that one though. Peter’s vocals start out real quiet in the mix, but got better as it went along. He sounds fantastic as he gives it his all. He loves being in the spotlight, it is obvious.

Side 2 kicks off with “Makin’ Love”, I mean right away, no hesitation. Paul sings at a million miles a minute he can barely catch his breath. The solo is short and sweet and I really love this one for that little drum roll towards the end. Great track. Then we get the totally inappropriate track from Gene with “Christine Sixteen”. I wonder if Paul is creeped out introducing this one…back then probably not as he sounds find. Nowadays, it probably makes his stomach turn. Gene gives the song his all and sounds great again especially when he gets to really creepy speaking parts. At the end there sounds like a 16 year old girl screaming like crazy.

One of the highlights of this release is that this is the first tour where Ace gets to sing as his first song ever sung is on ‘Love Gun’…yeah, you know what it is…“Shock Me”. Ace freaking kills it and then goes in to a spaced out guitar solo that is sloppy as hell and brilliant all at the same time. I mean this solo is insane. It is a couple minutes long and it is everything you want in an Ace solo. I can’t say enough great things about it. Totally worth getting this bootleg for that track alone!!

The final two tracks start off with “I Want You” and this one has Paul sounding great and another Ace Solo, but overall the song is underwhelming especially coming off that solo in “Shock Me”. After more Paul’s cheesy banter, we get the final track “Dr. Love”. Gene tackles this one and completely feels right at home. A classic Gene track and he nails it. A strange song to end the set, but hey, it’s a bootleg, what do you expect. They don’t have a clue what they are doing. But what a great show we did get.

I have to say, I really dig this one. It isn’t the best sounding one I own by any means, but it is the songs on this one. It is not a full show, but 11 songs that are tightly played and all sound great together. Not your typical set list and I am pretty okay with that. If you need a quick show with standout tracks, here you go. My Overall Score is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars because I mean the sound isn’t that great, but “Shock Me” is worth it for sure.

The Bootleg Series:

  1. Kiss – ‘Accept No Imitations’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ASYLUM TOUR)
  2. Kiss – Look Wot You Dun to Me (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (CRAZY NIGHTS TOUR)
  3. Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out! (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DESTROYER TOUR)
  4. Kiss – Return to Capital Center (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DYNASTY TOUR)
  5. Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (HOTTER THAN HELL TOUR)
  6. Kiss – Northhampton PA March 19th, 1975 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DRESSED TO KILL TOUR)
  7. Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE HOTTEST SHOW ON EARTH TOUR 2010)
  8. Kiss – All the Way to the Ball Room (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (Australian Tour 1995)
  9. Kiss – Kiss of Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Rising Sun Tour 2006)
  10. Kiss – Agora Ballroom 1974: The Cleveland Broadcast plus Bonus Cuts (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE KISS TOUR)
  11. Kiss – Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ROCK & ROLL OVER TOUR)
  12. Kiss – The Tickler (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (LICK IT UP TOUR 1983)
  13. Kiss – Barbarize (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – North American Tour)
  14. Kiss – They Only Come Out At Night (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – EUROPEAN TOUR)
  15. Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
  16. Kiss – Black Diamond: Lafayette Music Room, Memphis, TN April 18th, 1974 – FM Broadcast
  17. Kiss – End of the Road: In Allentown 2020 (PPL Center, Allentown, PA, 4th February 2020) (End of the Road Tour) – Blu-Ray
  18. Kiss – ‘Monster Tour: Simpsonville 2013’ (Charter Amphitheatre at Heritage Park, Simpsonville, C – 13th August 2013) – Blu-Ray
  19. Wicked Lester – The Original Wicked Lester Sessions (Bootleg)
  20. Kiss – The Ritz on Fire (August 12, 1988, The Ritz, New York City. A radio broadcast – Crazy Nights Tour)
  21. Kiss – Kiss My Axe 1978: Live from the Los Angeles Forum in California, August 25, 1977 (Love Gun Tour)

12 thoughts on “Kiss – ‘Kiss My Axe 1978’ (1981 Re-Issue) – Album Review (The Bootleg Series)

  1. Cool score. Always a thrill when you walk into one of these shops and discover a GEM! Neat to see Take Me and Hooligan on it as I wish they would have been on the last Off The Soundboard release.

    Liked by 1 person

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